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Direct Mail & Small Charities: A Case Study

Direct Mail & Small Charities: A Case Study

Iain Schofield • 15 January 2020

If you work in a small charitable organisation, fundraising can be a difficult balancing act. With tight budgets and even tighter time constraints, creating effective fundraisers and delivering a return on investment can be tough.

Recently, we’ve been working with Yorkshire Cat Rescue (YCR) to update their quarterly newsletter. The result? A sleeker format, fresh design and personalised content – all produced at a lower cost than their previous supplier.

A household name in the Worth Valley area, YCR has been working to ‘relieve the suffering of cats who are in need of care and attention’ since 1992. Originally founded as Howarth Cat Rescue, YCR has since rebranded to reflect the expanded scope of their operations; currently covering large areas of West Yorkshire and Lancashire. To date, YCR has come to the aid of over five thousand cats in need.

Spend (Less) Money To Make (More) Money

As a smaller charity, balancing effective fundraising and a tight budget is a constant challenge for YCR. To cut costs, YCR relies heavily on email campaigns and a quarterly newsletter to raise awareness of their work.

With budget limited, ensuring maximum engagement is key. While email campaigns are a great way for smaller charities to keep supporters up to date, combining these with a printed appeal can significantly increase engagement.

Time Flies

Time presents another hurdle for small charities who often struggle to raise awareness of their work as they're too busy, you know, doing it.

These struggles are not limited to YCR but commonplace among smaller charitable organisations. Despite an increase in donations for medium and large charitable organisations, the 2019 charitable giving report recorded a 2.3% decline in giving to smaller organisations. The scarcity of funds and resources at smaller organisations no doubt plays a part in this disparity.

A Problem Shared

Presented with these challenges, the Hello Market team approached YCR with a potential solution.

First up, a design revamp. The original YCR newsletter used a cumbersome A4 format. We reduced this down to A5 and spread the content over eight pages instead of the original four. This drop in size makes the newsletter easier to handle and crucially, cheaper to post. Overall, we managed to deliver a higher quality finish for a lower cost than YCR’s previous provider.

Our in-house graphics team took care of the revamped design, freeing YCR to focus on their critical work. Our graphic designers added attractive embellishments and personalised elements to help encourage higher engagement.

While only a small addition, personalisation can have a huge impact on engagement.

In a survey of customers, the top three impactful personalised elements were:
  1. Correct name and address
  2. Name in body copy/message
  3. Acknowledges previous dealings/support
Our revamped newsletter has all three. What's more, research shows that response rates more than triple when personalisation is used.

Cats Pyjamas?

Just two issues in, YCR are already noticing a positive response to the re-design.
"Hello Market produced our new newsletter. We were given so much support and guidance throughout the whole process and the newsletter looked fantastic!
Supporters have already commented on the change to say how much better it looks.”
Hayley, Yorkshire Cat Rescue

By reducing costs and time constraints, Hello Market allows smaller charities to make the most of direct mail’s proven benefits.

As our relationship with YCR continues, we’ll add results & insights as we receive them.

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